Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Wedding Trends

Romantic Wedding Invitation - dreamy fantasy art by Anne Vis
If you were following my latest artistic endeavors, you may have noticed that I have been working hard on creating new lines of romantic wedding gifts and products, like invitation cards and other stationery needed for a wedding party or gift items, nice to present to a couple and congratulate them with their wedding.
So far so good. Then I just read today that in the Netherlands people are now in general seeing a marriage as a business proposal and they go to a government desk just to get the official paper for their wedding. Nothing romantic, no party.
And as I am creating these beautiful romantic items for a couple about to tie the knot, I am pondering about the "meaning" of a wedding, if there is one. One view is that marriage is oftentimes ending up as some sort of prison, where the partners are limiting each other and the marriage feels like a trap.
This is also reflected in the reactions in the newspaper to this new trend in wedding: people get married with already at the back of their mind the option of a divorce.
In my designs I want to create something else.
I think what is really important about marriage is to be partners who stimulate and enjoy each other, who love, share and have fun ... and yes, support each other when the times are tough ... still in mind the expansion and dance ...
I want to bring back that magic in the wedding, the dream, the fairy tale ...
Soft floating angel wings and that magic connection, the understanding without words ...

You can see this is a process. Yes, I will also use some traditional symbols, like the rose or the love birds. And I just figured out that the boat, which is a traditional symbol for a Dutch wedding (yes, seafaring nation and all that ... :-))) is not used in the US for instance. Traditions are so different in every region. But one thing will remain: love unites. And let's make it colorful and vibrantly alive!

P.S. The image above is not published in a new line (yet), but you can already see previous wedding designs on Sunny Sites Design website.

Dutch Masterpainters in the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam

Une rĂªverie - dreamy fantasy art by Anne Vis
The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam has now also re-opened it's doors after a renovation. Contrary to the awful new and renovated museums elsewhere in Amsterdam (like the Museum of Modern Art, which I described earlier), this renovation looks professional and in style.
Hence my visit to this museum had a quite different mood. First of all I guess I have to say that I am not really a museum go-er. I prefer to do stuff, like creating my own art and you can find me rarely in a museum.
All the more a pleasant and very interesting experience to find so many old Dutch masters in the Maritime Museum. It is just amazing with how much detail and know-how these ships were built (yes, the topic of all paintings is the ocean and ships!) and also the outstanding skills of the painters. I just love the way they used light. Lighting is key to me ...
There is also an awesome collection of art that was used to decorate the ships as well as globes (dimly lit, probably for conservation reasons, but it made me long for a torch ...).
The next museum re-opening it's doors will be the National Museum, which is scheduled for April next year. This is a great museum (and from the previews on local tv, will also have a stylish renovation), so I would not mind having a peek there as well ... stay tuned! :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Elections and Peace

I vote for love - bumpersticker art by Anne Vis
While in the US a lot of people are focused on the economy with regards to the election, in the rest of the world most people want to know if there will be peace or not ...
What are the chances of finding peace, especially with Iran?
Obama and his israeli "friends" have already started a war with Iran, with insane sanctions that are hurting the ordinary people in Iran as well as ordinary people in other countries. Not to mention the Stuxnet attack of course, which is now causing a major threat to all other nuclear reactors worldwide (just in the Dutch news this past week, there are numerous attacks in cyberworld, now especially targeting the nuclear reactors. Thanks Obama!)
And this week the brutal attack in Sudan (looks like the American tax payer could also pick up the bill for that one ...) ... happily ignored by all mainstream media as far as I have seen ...

There will also be elections in the israeli territories, so I don't know if that will influence the path ahead. And Romney so far seems to be a free radical, although his talk about his israeli "friends" is not very promising (or just election rhetoric?).
One thing is sure: from what Obama has shown so far, if he is re-elected all the wars (and he started many!) will continue.
I am glad that I don't have to vote this time and probably wouldn't either ... I vote for love and peace ... :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Urban Organic Beekeeping

Beeswax and Bee Card - art by Anne Vis Rainbow Beeswax Encaustic Card - art by Anne Vis
Last night I decided to check out an information evening about the local bee situation in Amsterdam and I wasn't the only one! In the audience were both beekeepers and people who were just curious to know more about the bees, like myself.
After publications that local beehives were suddenly found empty, I was wondering how these amazing creatures are doing now. And they are still struggling.
Urban beekeeping is becoming more and more "trendy" and Amsterdam is trailing behind other cities, where there are many more beekeepers. London actually seems to be "full" now!
This evening was run by organic beekeepers, and it became clear that there is a lot of discussion in "bee keeping world" about what is actually the best way to keep bees. One of the reasons also being the mites that are killing the bees and how to decimate them. Suggested was an environment friendly approach consisting of warming the entire hive, which would be supported well by the bees, and faint the mites, which then could be "caught". (not killing the mites).
The bee world turns out to be very complicated and thus the reasons why they are struggling so much might also be in a variety of factors all coming together. The pesticides, the electro smog, the GMO and also the climate. This latter was devastating this past year in the Netherlands. The main (excellent!) speaker, Albert Muller, who has his hives in the center of the country, said that in this past (according to the media "mild") winter the bees had a very hard time to survive weeks of minus 21 degrees Celsius. They need more food to keep warm and eat honey. I did not know that bees eat honey, but they do. (This suddenly makes eating honey maybe not such a great practice ...)
Actually keeping the bees well fed seems to be one of the keys to keep their immune system strong. What can help there is having a variety of different flowers for them.
And talking about GMO, the genetic build-up of bees is a story in itself. It is not only related to the distance from the hive they go to feed, but also surprising other factors play a role. Like the import of thousands of bees from Hawaii! (Who would have thought that?) This seems to be related to money or should I say big money ... (what's new).
Connected to this is the way beekeeping is done and how it affects the honeycomb as in nature bees build this themselves, but the past fifty years it has become habit to prefabricate the honeycombs in the (erroneous) belief that this will produce more honey. And because of the recycled wax that is used, the immune system of the bees is affected ...
As just a regular citizen, the best way to go is probably grow some flowers where possible. The representative of the local government who was present said the government is aware of the situation and is doing their best to use bushes instead of fences and plant as large a variety of plants and flowers as they can.
You can find more information on this topic on I love Beeing (Dutch) or information in english on organic beekeeping.
Or you may check out my previous posts on bees in Amsterdam and experiences with bee healing.

Did you know: that bees see grass as grey and have their hearing senses located in their feet?
On a final note: the images are some of my earlier works, created with beeswax or called encaustic art ...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Contemporary Art in Amsterdam

The Celebration - modern art by Anne Vis
The local newspaper had a devastating review about the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, which is really a museum of contemporary art and should also display local artists (but doesn't).
All museums in Amsterdam have been closed simultaneously and now once in a while one of them reopens, as the "Stedelijk" last week. If I were traveling from abroad I would at least wait till next summer, because on average the situation is still a mess.
OK, back to the Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam (for some reason they do not bother to translate the name in English on their own website, which seems odd).
If you look at it from the outside it is sitting next to a building resembling a garbage bin and the museum itself looks like a failed bathtub, uglier than ugly. (are you still there?).
On the inside there are works from some famous artists like Kandinsky and Karel Appel, but for some reason they have apparently not been able to buy the real great works of those artists. Every artist has some works that on hindsight may not be their best and this is what they buyers of the museum have put up with. Very disappointing indeed. There was just one work in the entire museum that sparked some interest in me and that was a Mondriaan. In the US called Mondrian (sorry folks, the guy's real name is Mondriaan!) The painting was a square format white on it's side with an asymmetrical black cross. I would not see it as a masterpiece, but at least it was playful, different and creative.
Apparently modern art has been unable to compete with the Dutch masters from earlier centuries. If I were visiting Amsterdam now, I would go for the Rembrandt House (which is also from a historical and architectural viewpoint really interesting) or go to Haarlem, where you can find beautiful smaller gems with Dutch masters like Frans Hals.
And if you like Mondriaan, you may be interested in my personal Mondriaan inspiration line.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

World Animal Day: focus on animals

Snow Cat Christmas Ornament - art by Anne Vis
It's finally arrived again: World Animal Day! :-)
Of course I would rather think of every day as World Animal Day, but some of us seem to have other thoughts about that ...
So just for the fun of it, I looked at how animals are portrayed in the news, just this month, and found some rather interesting stuff:
New Fanged Dwarf Dinosaur Found—"Would Be Nice Pet"
'Green Brain' Project to Create an Autonomous Flying Robot With a Honey Bee Brain
And what to think of this one:
Oregon farmer eaten by pigs
And I really did not have to spend a lot of time at all to find these ... food for thought, huh ... :-) (Uhm, yes, the pigs obviously thought differently about that ...)

Since my muse Knor left, the cat art has become more erratic and sporadic, but above you can see the latest with snow cats stealing the show! You can replace the cats with your own picture to make it more personal.
Also, I am currently spending an awful lot of time expanding and updating my art site, to represent all lines of products and gifts with my individual designs. There are about 5000 unique items in my stores now, adding more every day, so you can see this is a sheer impossible project, which you can find here: Sunny Sites.
Meantime: Happy World Animal Day!